Chapter 16
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Good for Women

In a new essay for The Wall Street Journal, novelist Ann Patchett wades into politics

March 26, 2012 Political commentators keep expressing astonishment that the question of the right role of women in society has emerged as a source of debate during an election season in the twenty-first century. But Nashville novelist Ann Patchett was clearly ready with a defense of the sexual revolution that took place more than fifty years ago and gave the women the single most powerful tool in achieving political and professional equality with men. In a new essay for The Wall Street Journal Patchett explains why politicians “can have my birth-control pills when you pry them out of my cold, dead hands”:

Here’s the thing about revolutions—there is no taking them back. You may review history and wish that it had gone the other way; perhaps you always longed to be a British colonist and regret the outcome of the American Revolution. Or maybe you liked the idea of a man behind a horse and plow and feel that the Industrial Revolution was all a big misstep.

But personal laments are only that: personal. They cannot change what has been done. If you feel that the sexual revolution destroyed the American family by giving women power over their reproductive choices, and that power turned daughters and wives, by and large, into a bunch of wanton hussies, well, stew over your feelings all you want, but you might as well give up thinking that it is possible to herd us up and drive us back into the kitchen—which, depending on how many revolutions have offended you, might be a kitchen with a washboard and cake of soap or a smoke house featuring a picture of King George.

Read the rest of the essay here.